Great news for those who like bananas

 During the weeks since the election, everyone’s eyes have been on Florida. We’ve held our breath through counts and recounts and recounts of ballots. We’ve watched carefully the court decisions and legal maneuverings that could determine, not only the outcome of the election, but perhaps the entire direction of the country.

 But while our eyes have been on Florida, we may have been missing a bigger story: the corruption of our entire system of free and fair elections
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 Election fraud in Arkansas was so extensive that Governor Huckabee ended up calling his own state a banana republic. Unfortunately, banana-republic-style voting dominated, not just Arkansas, but states and cities throughout the nation.

 In Connecticut, a U.S. attorney is investigating multiple ballots cast by unregistered voters. In California, the Secretary of State is investigating an apparent Clinton scheme to expedite voting by non-citizens. In Arkansas, Democratic operatives bribed Black voters by giving them “walking around money” during Sunday morning services and then busing them directly to specially (and illegally) opened polling places.

 Despite a judge’s express order, polls in St. Louis remained open long after they were supposed to be closed: just long enough for there to be enough votes to elect a dead man as senator from Missouri.

  Fraud in Wisconsin was especially bad. Connie Millstein, a New Yorker and major contributor to the Democratic National Committee, was caught giving cigarettes to residents of a rescue mission if they would come with her to vote for Gore. A Wisconsin radio station (WTMJ) claims that Milwaukee poll workers were instructing recent immigrants to vote for Gore. The Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal reports that 174 out of 1000 Marquette University students admitted to voting more than once—and students were seen taking as many as ten ballots each.

 And for the ultimate in election-fraud chutzpah, the Clinton administration repeated its 1996 tactic of getting the INS to illegally and improperly rush through the naturalization of immigrants—including many with criminal records.
  Voter fraud on this scale is a real worry. But even more worrisome than the fraud itself is the failure of the major media to follow up on these stories and to give them the coverage they deserve.

 Conservatives, or course, would attribute the lack of coverage to the media’s liberal bias. The real problem, however, is the bias of the major media to mediocrity.

 CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC hire newscasters primarily on the basis of their appearance or their appeal to a certain demographic group rather than because of their exceptional ability as journalists. And, as a result, most Americans are getting their “news” from people who aren’t real journalists at all.

  Unfortunately, the election fraud story is only one of many that the networks miss and that real journalists would give us.
 Unlike the pretty boys and girls on the nightly news, real journalists wouldn’t be content with superficial glosses on important events. Real journalists would be asking how Clinton’s Israel peace prize project blew up in his face. Real journalists would be asking how what was supposed to be 18 months of troop commitment in Bosnia has turned into 5 years. Real journalists would explore our complicity in Gypsy genocide, the deaths of Iraqi children caused by our embargo, and the reasons for our failure to do anything for Sudanese Christians. Real journalists would scream if a president’s stonewall included eleven months (!) without holding a formal press conference.

 And real journalists wouldn’t get bored with a story, either. Whether it’s the Florida recount or the curiously timed bombing of a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant, they would stick with the story until they got the truth.
 
 Fortunately, there are still real journalists around: on the Internet, on the radio, and working for your local newspaper. But unless the majority of American voters learn to ignore network news coverage and turn to the real journalists—well, I’ve been practicing my singing.

 Day-o. Day-ay-ay-o.
 



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